Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: You have talked about hidden meanings behind symbols in Hinduism which seem to be very illogical. Could you please talk about many crores of devtas.
Sri Sri: Crore, Koti means types. 33 crores means 33 types of divine impulses. In our body also there are 33 types of divine impulses. In our genes also there are 33 types. A particular type makes the eye, a particular type makes the nose, and like that a particular type makes eardrums, hair, nails. Like this there are 33 rays of divinity. One light, one God, one Parmatma but there are 33 aspects. Devas are the 33 different aspects of divinity. Here crore is not referred to as a number. Divine has no form but ancient saints have said you can adore him in any form or names. All the thousand names belong to God only. This is very deep science or deep knowledge. It’s amazing. When you go more and more deep into this, then you feel wow. People who have discovered this and written this have simply stupendous knowledge. The universe is not so simple. It’s very complex. Modern physics also says that deeper and deeper there are so many different type of particles. So the diverse universe and the divinity which manages, rules and has made this diverse universe is devta. The English name David is a Sanskrit word. Dev + vid, dev means divinity, vid means to know. David means one who knows the divinity. Divinity is not somewhere up in the heaven. It is present in the world, universe, everywhere. And it has to be realized that when the mind is calm, serene and settled in our heart and when emotion and intellect merge into a serene blend in silence, then you are able to perceive the subtle reality of Universe and that is devta.
Q: Why does the divine answer and reward some while prayers of others go unanswered?
Sri Sri: Well, I don’t know why some prayers get answered and some are not. I have no idea. Perhaps it is good for you. Perhaps you may change your mind about what you want. People go to shopping, this often happens at least in India, and ask shopkeeper, “Can I come later and exchange it if I don’t like it”. They go home and don’t like it and get it exchanged next day. Most unreliable thing you have is your own mind because you don’t know what it likes and when it doesn’t like that. That is why bringing mind to its source is so important. Its centeredness is the most important thing in spiritual evolution. Understanding what is transient and what is permanent, what brings you permanent joy and what causes temporary convenience and long term misery, what causes temporary discomfort and permanent joy, and what causes long term discomfort. That is what is called viveka, sense of discretion, wisdom – knowing this from that.
Q: Guruji you give so much importance to Satsang. Is there any scientific reason behind?
Sri Sri: Satsang means company of reality, being in touch with the truth. Satsang is not just singing. Singing some complicated songs which you don’t understand is not Satsang. Music is part of it. Second part is, understanding the logic. Third part is sitting and reposing in yourself in deep meditation, being with yourself.
Q: Guruji this question has bothered me for a long time. Billions of people have been born and billions have died. I am born and I will die. Then what is the purpose of life? Why are we here if all are going to die?
Sri Sri: Why not? So many people were born and died, so many are living and they will die and so many will be born in future and they will also die. You are thinking from a business mind – what am I going to get? - What is the aim? What is the purpose? There should be something coming out of everything. So when you think from a business mind, this whole exercise appears totally uneconomical and futile. Biggest disadvantage is that it seems God hasn’t studied economics (Laughter); else Einstein would be given another 100 years so that he could perform some more experiments, discoveries. So many leaves are coming up every spring and then they fall. Such an economical disaster! People are dying and new babies are born, go to school, college – job – get married – have children – and then die again. It appears to be completely bizarre. But that’s how it is.
Q: Dear Guruji, when you say in the past our ancestors gave various names and forms to God. Then are Devis and Devatas created in the minds of the Rishis or did they really exist from the very beginning of the creation?
Sri Sri: Nobody created the rainbow colors, they exist, they are there but when the white light passes through a prism you can say you created them. If someone asks you, are the colors created by you or no, what do you say? Yes and no together because the colors are already there but it was not visible, you made it visible when you made the light pass through a prism. In the same way, the Devis and Devatas have always been there but giving them a name and honoring them was the brilliance of the Rishis
Sri Sri: That which is born from Fullness is worship. When gratitude is overwhelming, the throat chokes in gratitude, and then whatever action you perform in such a state is worship. We surrender everything – that feeling is worship.
Q: Is it possible to become like a child again and to rekindle that positive vibration around us?
Sri Sri: It is possible. The secret lies in our own breath. Through breathing exercises, certain breathing techniques and some practice of meditation, we can rekindle positive vibrations within and around us.
Are you aware that sometimes for no reasons you feel like talking to some people, and sometimes for no reason you want to avoid some people? I am sure everyone has this experience!
We convey more through our presence than through our words. If we are uptight, angry or stressed, then we become repulsive. Now, the question is how do these negative vibrations come in our aura? We are storing all these negative things that we have seen and heard in our aura.
Q: There are dilemmas in life, and I lack decision making power. What should be done?
Sri Sri: Wherever there is duality(dvait), there will be a dilemma. Whenever you are in daily activities (vyavahar), there will be dilemma. There is no choice, accept it.
Q: How much difference is there between science and spirituality? Why do some scientists not believe in spirituality?
Sri Sri: Evolved scientists surely believe in spirituality. Those who are not yet fully evolved may not believe in spirituality. Einstein was startled after reading Bhagwad Geeta. If you hear a quantum physicist talking, you will feel as if the text is being quoted from the scriptures only. ‘What is this?’ is science. ‘Who am I?’ is spirituality. Objective analysis is science and subjective understanding is spirituality. And they go hand in hand. In the East, they were never in conflict with each other. It is said in the Bhagvad Geeta –‘Gyan Vigyana Triptatma’. You will find fulfillment only when science and spirituality go together. We need both science and spirituality to bring contentment to our soul.